Brian Lynch is a fiery, technically adroit trumpeter who emerged from Art Blakey's final Jazz Messengers lineup to become one of the leading jazz musicians of his generation. Blessed with a crackling tone and exuberant improvisational style, Lynch commands attention whether playing aggressive post-bop or sophisticated Latin music. When not touring or recording, Lynch is an active educator, serving as associate professor of jazz and studio music at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.
Born in Urbana, Illinois in 1956, Lynch grew up in the Milwaukee area, where he earned his undergraduate degree from the Milwaukee Conservatory of Music. From there, he spent a year living in San Diego and playing with saxophonist Charles McPherson before relocating to New York City in 1981. Once in New York, he quickly became a valuable on-call sideman, playing with such luminaries as pianists Horace Silver and Toshiko Akiyoshi and others. A versatile performer, Lynch also found a home in N.Y.C.'s vibrant Latin salsa scene, and performed regularly with such popular salsa artists as Angel Canales, Héctor Lavoe, and Eddie Palmieri. This formative experience had a profound effect on Lynch, and he continued to incorporate Latin sounds and rhythms into his music.
As a solo artist, Lynch made his debut as leader with 1986's Peer Pressure, followed by Back Room Blues in 1988. Also in 1988, Lynch joined what would become the final lineup of Art Blakey's storied Jazz Messengers. He toured and recorded with Blakey from 1988 until the famed drummer's death from lung cancer in 1990. As a Jazz Messenger, Lynch appeared on such albums as The Art of Jazz: Live in Leverkusen, Chippin' In, and One for All.
The themes of cross-cultural diversity and paying homage to the artists who have influenced the course of his career are also common ones in Lynch's catalog, as evidenced by albums like his three-volume Unsung Heroes project, in which he celebrated the music of lesser-appreciated trumpet masters like Louis Smith, Tommy Turrentine, Charles Tolliver, and others. In 2014, he collaborated with pianist Emmet Cohen on the album Questioned Answer. ~ Matt Collar